christmas email marketing ideas header image

10 Christmas Email Marketing Ideas You Can Easily Implement

It might seem like retailers launch their Christmas campaign earlier and earlier every year. But as a merchant you should take this as a sign to start thinking about your Christmas email campaigns. 

Especially when Christmas represents one of the biggest spending periods globally with the average American consumer being anticipated to spend $1,048 on Christmas purchases in 2019. And with email marketing expected to be responsible for 20% of these sales

And while the holiday season already primes people to shop more, it doesn’t mean you should just sit back and wait for the sales to roll in. 

By starting early and properly structuring your Christmas email marketing campaigns, you’re setting your store up to make this Christmas your most profitable yet. 

So in that spirit, we’ve come up with this list of 10 Christmas email ideas to take full advantage of the holiday sales. 

1) Christmas teaser email

How early is too early for your first Christmas email? 

Well given that two of the biggest online shopping days (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) occur roughly a month before Christmas, they provide a good reference point. 

In your Black Friday email marketing, you can definitely remind people how great the sales weekend is to get on top of Christmas shopping. Making this potentially the first time you mention Christmas in your marketing. 

As for your Christmas sale, a week or two after Black Friday makes for a good time to start sending out emails. 

A good option for your first email is a simple teaser only providing limited details of your upcoming sale. Such as in this example. 

christmas email example

Sending a teaser email to your engaged customers will help build excitement and anticipation for your upcoming sale. Just be sure to quickly follow it up with your actual sale announcement. 

2) Holiday gift guide/catalog email

If you don’t want to tease your subscribers or if you haven’t finalized your sale yet, gift guides are a great option to ease your way into Christmas email marketing early. 

In addition to them being a way to showcase the products you want to move, they also offer value to your customers. Especially seeing as many people are looking for gift ideas at this time of year. 

Just be sure to include key examples of products from a range of collections to maximize the chances something will catch your subscriber’s eye. Just like how Michael’s have done.

christmas gift guide email marketing example

3) Christmas sale announcement email

The most essential part of your Christmas email marketing campaign is going to be the email where you actually announce the details of your sale.

If you’ve already sent out a teaser email and/or a gift guide, then it’s likely your customers will already have a few products in mind that they want to buy. At this point, often a simple discount offer will be enough to convert shoppers.

email example of christmas

Obviously the better your offer, the more people you’ll convert. And just as in the above example from Rifle Paper Co., a great Christmas email design will help immensely. 

Even if you don’t end up sending any pre-sale announcement emails, be sure to get this email out well before December 25th. Ideally a week in advance at the very least to ensure that your customers haven’t already finished their Christmas shopping. 

4) Personalized/early offers to loyal customers

When sending your sale emails, it’s worthwhile spending a bit of time segmenting your email list into various groups of loyal customers. This lets you include relevant products in your emails but more importantly save your biggest offers for your most valuable customers.

Doing so makes your customers feel valued and appreciated, further increasing the likelihood that they’ll spend their money on a purchase from your store.

If you don’t want to spend the time curating several emails of different types of gifts, there’s a couple of other options you have. You can send automatically generated personalized recommendations, or give them a sneak peak of your Christmas sale.

Just like in this email from Fossil.

email example from fossil

Fossil could have improved their copy here to make their email sound more exclusive by changing “our gift to you” to something along the lines of “as a thank you for being a long time customer, we’re offering you…”. Including your subscriber’s name is also definitely something we’d recommend. 

5) Abandoned cart emails

While abandoned cart recovery emails aren’t holiday emails – being something you should have automated throughout the year. They’re particularly important when it comes to your Christmas email marketing campaigns. 

In addition to changing the email template you use to something more Christmas themed, you might want to temporarily increase the frequency of your follow up emails. 

This is because at this time of year you can expect people to be making a lot of purchases across multiple sites. The longer you wait until you send a reminder email, the greater the chances are they’ve already purchased the present elsewhere. 

So increase the frequency of your cart recovery emails so that the first one sends within an hour someone abandoning their cart. Then make sure the second and third follow ups are sent within 24 hours. 

And if you haven’t enabled abandoned cart emails at all yet, activate them now. 

If your email marketing software doesn’t offer them, then switch to a commerce-focused solution that does like SmartrMail. You can automate them in only a few clicks with our free trial without having to commit to anything. 

6) The “let them decide” gift card email

What’s one of the most common presents people will gift each other at Christmas? 

Gift cards. 

Not only do they make a great option when you have no idea what to buy someone, but they also make for an easy holiday email. 

chirstmas gift card example

Just like highlighted in the above example from Terrain, gift cards also make a great last minute gift idea if customers are able to download them instantly.

Before you send this email, you might want to exclude people who have already made a purchase for Christmas from your store. That way you’re not overwhelming them with emails while targeting people who are struggling to find a gift more effectively. 

7) Christmas shipping deadline reminder

After you’ve announced your sale and December 25th draws closer, you’ll want to send a few follow up emails reminding people of your sale. 

One way you can do this without just rehashing the same content is to send a reminder to your customers to complete their purchases by a particular date to guarantee delivery before Christmas.

Such as in this email from Ben Sherman.

ben sherman email for christmas

Only thing that Ben Sherman is missing from their email is their Christmas offer. Seeing as you’re running a Christmas sale, there’s no reason not to reiterate your offer in this email. 

This email also makes it easy to create a sense of urgency, prompting your subscribers to take action instead of just putting off their purchase to later.

8) The “it’s not too late” email

If your shipping deadline email didn’t do the trick, sending a “it’s not too late” email might be what your customers need to push them across the line. 

This is simply an email you leave to the absolutely last moment for customers to get their purchases by Christmas. Such as December 23rd if you’re able to offer express shipping. 

it's not too late christmas email example


Chances are plenty of your customers will have put off their Christmas shopping until the last minute. So as they’re stressing out trying to find something that’ll deliver in time, they’ll appreciate you throwing them a lifeline. 

If you’re unable to offer a discount on purchases, offering free express shipping is a strategy you might want to consider. Often in the last week before Christmas this offer will be as enticing, if not more so than a typical percentage discount.

9) Post-Christmas email campaign

Just because Christmas has come and gone, doesn’t mean it has to be the end of your Christmas email marketing campaign. 

Boxing Day is a major sales holiday in many countries that you can definitely take advantage of. 

Traditionally Boxing Day sales involve heavier discounting than your Christmas sale. This gives you a great opportunity to target those Christmas shoppers who had their eye on a particular product but never purchased it in all of the commotion of Christmas shopping. 

boxing day email example

Of course, it’s also a chance to clear all any excess Christmas stock that didn’t sell beforehand. 

Another option is to celebrate the new year with your subscribers. 

You can do this by holding another sale (if your store can cope with yet another one) or simply by showing your appreciation for your customers. Like Readdle has done. 

new year's email

10) 12 Days of Christmas email campaign

Want to go all out with your Christmas email marketing this year? One idea you might want to consider is a 12 Days of Christmas campaign where you announce a new offer everyday for 12 days in the lead up to Christmas.

This gives you plenty of room to be creative in how you run the campaign. For instance you can set up a dedicated landing page with countdown timers for your various offers. 

You can even do your own twist such as the 12 nights of wine from Vinebox.

12 days of christmas email marketing example

The only issue with running this type of campaign is that sending an email everyday for 12 days straight will fatigue your subscribers. Especially if they’re not into celebrating Christmas. So don’t forget to spread the announcements out across your social media channels instead of just relying on email.

Implementing your Christmas email marketing ideas

By now you should hopefully have plenty of ideas for your Christmas email marketing. Now you just have to implement them. 

Just like with any holiday email campaign, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

Firstly, no matter how great your email design or content is, it’s useless if people don’t open your email to see it. To achieve a decent open rate you need to pay attention to your subject line. Thankfully we have a collection of Christmas email subject lines that you can use. 

Also keep in mind that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Depending on where your business is and the make-up of your email list, you might want to consider maintaining a light touch with references to Christmas. 

Lastly, email marketing is all about building a relationship with your subscribers. Don’t just use the holiday period as an excuse to spam people with sale emails. Remember to take the time to genuinely wish your subscribers a Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays) and New Year. 

And to all of our readers, have a joyful holiday season and a happy new year!


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